Sunday, 17 February 2019


If ultimately accepted by the Paris-based International Bureau of Weights and Measures (Bureau international des poids et mesures), Marginal Revolution informs, the ronna- and the quecca- as prefixes for the outlandishly large amounts of 1027 and 1030 (plus their microscopic and vanishingly tiny counterparts, the ronto- and quecto-) would be their first new official unit prefixes added to the metric system since 1991.
The current upper limit of the officially recognised and scientifically sanctioned scale is the yotta- and data-storage capacity is expected to reach and quickly surpass ten to the twenty-fourth power (1024, approximately the size of an individual human’s full DNA sequence, with the corollary yocto-) of bytes of information within the next decade. Though popular in common-parlance handy and a good avenue for talking about science literacy in general, the googol and related values are still vernacular and provisional.

jpeg image, 1024 x 1024 pixels

Via Swiss Miss, here’s a seemingly unending and disconcerting gallery of head-and-shoulders images of people (the name of the website is a constant reminder) that do not exist except as the figment of a machine’s imagination (see also here and here).
There are a few glitches when generating the images, sometimes noticeable in the background, make-up, hair or clothing but it’s beyond the Uncanny Valley of the Dolls in terms of realism. Paying a visit to the website, just hit the refresh button to summon another non-entity into being however temporarily. So many incept dates—I know they’re just fabrications, collages (though they could probably be readily assigned an extensive and made-up biography) but I also can’t help wondering what happens when one clicks next.

Saturday, 16 February 2019

tone it down


yo gabba gabba: Canadian researchers explore drug therapies that appear to rapidly reverse age-related cognitive deterioration in mice—via Slashdot 

some assembly required: trace the evolution of furnishing trends through the covers of IKEA catalogues (previously) from 1951 onwards—via Nag on the Lake  

if i can make it here, i’ll make it anywhere: online retail giant abruptly cancels plans to build a second headquarters in New York City

hollywoodland: mapping the remaining iconic neon signs and other illuminated installations of California’s Electric Products Corporation

the doctor is in: a “public philosopher” takes deep and probing questions from strangers

deal or no deal: an overview of how UK expatriates living in the EU will be impacted post-Brexit

please won’t you be my neighbour: an appreciation of Mister Roger’s Neighborhood’s friendly Officer Clemmons 

oconus or american empire

When on that date which “will live in infamy” that is framed as the bombing of Pearl Harbour by Japan, it was not just Hawaii that was attacked but also the US territories of Midway, Guam, Wake and the Philippines as well as the British colonial holdings of Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaya.
It was not, however, that Pearl Harbour was an inclusive way of summarising all this assault under one aegis of place, as shown in preliminary drafts of the speech that Franklin Delano Roosevelt would make to the American people and commit the country to take part in the war effort fully, but rather a calculated appeal that hedged against Americans’ aversion to involvement in foreign wars. Because the Philippines seemed too exotic and a distant outpost like Guam didn’t seem worth military entanglement, they were downgraded and went unmentioned while Hawaii was promoted in the speech to the “American island of Hawaii,” much to the slight and consternation of the people of Manila and elsewhere who had also experienced great suffering.